Standard Chartered gets close to settling Iran sanction claims

Tim Wallace
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STANDARD Chartered saw profits rise in the third quarter, according to its update published yesterday, although its progress was slowed by the cost of settling claims made by US regulators that it broke sanctions against Iran.

The emerging market specialist recorded “high single-digit” profit growth, knocking its hopes of upping profits by 10 per cent this year.

The bank would have seen stronger growth were it not for a $340m (£211.4m) bill to settle the New York state Department of Financial Services’ claims it broke sanctions with Iran in $250bn of transactions.

It is still facing claims from four other US regulators, which it hopes can be settled by the end of the year. Lawyers believe these could cost the bank tens of billions of dollars.

Elsewhere, the bank reported falling loan impairment levels on the first half of 2012, and rising mortgage lending.

But although the tone of the update was broadly positive, analysts warned the bank is facing some headwinds.

“The strength of the US dollar compared to Asian currencies has dampened earnings growth. There was also weakness in India and in Singapore’s wholesale banking and South Korea’s consumer banking businesses,” said Charles Stanley’s Nic Clarke.

Nonetheless, “the group has a very strong capital base, it has continued to see growth in both deposits and lending and the advances to deposit ratio was below 80 per cent at the end of the third quarter.”